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Everyone has heard of Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos, and Jeffrey Dahmer, but they are not the only serial killers in the world or even in the United States. There are hundreds of serial killers you've never even heard of and the reason why is mostly that they are not shocking enough or prolific enough. Many happened before the media became so connected and ingrained in our daily lives. And many others that operate even today cross jurisdictions, state lines, and even country boundaries to commit and conceal their crimes. Allow me to introduce you to just ten serial killers that the general population know little to nothing about. I included photos of those who had them. Unfortunately, not everyone liked their photos taken.
A military wife who followed her husband around the country from base to base, Martha Woods was a woman inflicted with mental illness known as Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy. Woods enjoyed the attention she would get when someone she was close to was seriously ill or died. She enjoyed the attention so much so that she would smother several children which resulted in the death of 7 children.
Martha Woods would always rush her ailing baby to the nearest hospital. The child was always unconscious and had always spent time alone in Woods care. Woods would proclaim that the infant simply stopped breathing for unknown reasons and she was not suspected in any death until her adopted son, Paul, died. Intensive psychiatric testing found her sane and she stood trial for the death of Paul. Woods was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Woods’ victims were three of her own children, a nephew, a niece, a neighbors child, and Paul.
Jack the Stripper
Jack the Stripper showed up in England nearly 70 years after Jack the Ripper had ended his spree. Like the Ripper, this Jack killed prostitutes and remains unidentified to this day. However, Jack the Stripper took a total of eight victims and lasted over six years whereas Jack the Ripper had five victims and lasted only ten weeks. Jack the Stripper earned his name from the way he left his corpses stripped of their clothing.
On June 17, 1959, 21-year-old Elizabeth Figg’s body was found in only a slip and floating in the Thames River. Her method of death was strangulation. On November 8, 1963, 22-year-old Gwynneth Rees’ skeletal remains were found near the same river during a brush cleanup project. Her cause of death was not determined due to the condition of the bones. February 2, 1964 brought the discovery of the naked body of 30-year-old Hannah Tailford bobbing in the Thames. On April 9, 1964, 20-year-old Irene Lockwood's body was found naked in the Thames and floating only 300 yards from where they found Tailford’s body. Both women had drowned and it was ascertained that Lockwood was four months pregnant. The first victim found away from the River Thames was 20-year-old Helen Barthelemy. Her nude body was found in a sports field in Brentwood on April 24, 1964. The next to be found away from the river was 21-year-old Mary Fleming on July 14, 1964. She had likely been choked to death and this time the killer took her dentures. On November 25, 1964, Margaret McGowan had been found after missing a month. Jack’s spree ended February 16, 1965 when the nude body of 27-year-old Bridget O’Hara was found in the bushes on the Heron Trading Estate in Acton. The suspects for Jack the Stripper were numerous, but not a single person was ever found to be connected to the murders and the case remains open to this day.
New Jersey native Robert Zarinsky had already been convicted of arson and grave desecration after he set fire to a lumberyard and ransacked several Jewish cemeteries in Monmouth and Union Counties. He spent 13 months for these crimes in the Trenton State Psychiatric Hospital. Upon release, he opened a wholesale produce business but his urges to murder would soon arise.
In April 1969, Zarinsky began with the murder of 17-year-old Linda Balbanow. He kidnapped her and her body was dumped into the Raritan River. Next was 16-year-old Rosemary Calandriello from Atlantic Highlands and Zarinsky was charged with her kidnapping. Her body was never found and his charges were dismissed on the grounds of denial of a speedy trial. He may have gotten away with it had he not begun bragging about how he skirted the law because no one would find her body after the murders of his next three victims. In 1968, 13-year-old Jane Durrua disappeared and her body was found nude in a field in North Middleton. In December of 1974, Zarinsky was again the suspect in the murders of 14-year-old Doreen Carlucci and 15-year-old Joanne Delardo from Middlesex Country. Again, the girls were kidnapped, this time together, and their bodies dumped half-naked in Manalapan Township. Their cause of death was strangulation with an electrical cord. In February 1975, Zarinsky was charged with Calendriello’s murder and held in lieu of $125,000 bond. He was convicted in April of first degree murder and was upheld upon appeal when the court decided the absence of a body does not bar someone from prosecution. In August 1999, his cousin implicated him and Theodore Schiffer, another cousin, in the 1958 murder of Rahway police officer Charles Bernoski. Schieffer pled guilty in that case and was a witness against Zarinsky. Bernoski’s widow then sued Zarinsky for wrongful death of her husband and was awarded $9.5 million in damages. Zarinsky died in prison on November 28, 2008 of pulmonary fibrosis.
Antonis Daglis was a Greek serial killer that terrorized prostitutes in Athens, Greece in the mid 1990s. After raping and strangling his three victims, he would then dispose of their bodies by way of dismemberment with a chainsaw and scattering their remains along the sides of highways. How Daglis managed to elude capture so long is beyond understanding. He was not the best at his craft and managed to let six women destined for the same fate escape. One woman, Ann Hamson, was even able to convince Daglis that, although he did pick her up as if she was a prostitute, she was not a lady of the night and therefore he should let her go, and he did.
When all was said and done, he confessed to various crimes and was convicted on January 23, 1997 on counts such as three rape-slayings and six attempted murders. Daglis was sentenced to 13 consecutive life terms plus and extra 25 years behind bars.
Considered China’s most prolific serial killer with 15 known victims, Bai Baoshan’s “revenge” began in March of 1996 after being released from prison on a 13-year stint for murder and robbery in the early 1980s.
In March, Baoshan attacked a police guard and stole his semi-automatic weapon that he later used to kill one person and wound six others. Police and investigators believe he also robbed and killed a cigarette vendor in Beijing prior to leaving town and heading to the northern Chinese province Hebei. While there, Baoshan killed another policeman to steal his automatic gun. He traveled quickly to Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang province where he picked up two accomplices. The trio then killed ten people which included police officers, security guards, and civilians. During their spree, they also managed to steal 1.5 million yuan (roughly $226,000) to fund their travels and survival. But with Baoshan being who he was, he did not want to share his loot with his cohorts, so he killed one of them and ran off with the money alone. In October of 1997, Baoshan returned to Beijing and was arrested by the authorities. He was charged with 14 homicides and countless other felonies to which he confessed to all of them. He was tried and convicted for all counts and was put to death on May 6, 1998.
Howard Arthur Allen
In 1974, Howard was just 24-years-old and had already been convicted of manslaughter when he had broken into the home of 85-year-old Opal Cooper. He had intended to just rob her of her valuables, but ended up beating her to death during the crime. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison and was paroled in January 1985. He moved home to Indianapolis where he worked in a car wash to make ends meet.
On May 18, 1987, Allen’s reign of terror began with a 73-year-old woman who barely escaped death at his hands. Two days later, 87-year-old Laverne Hale was not so lucky. Allen tried the same thing on a home of an elderly man just five blocks from Laverne’s home but when he found that the man was not home, he set fire to the residence to express his anger. July 14, 1987, 73-year-old Ernestine Griffin was stabbed eight times with a butcher knife and a toaster was used to beat her about the head in an attack that took her life. Allen made off with just $15 and a camera. Allen was arrested later that day. When all was said and done, Allen had killed two women and set fire to a home in the course of three months. He was also a suspect in eleven other cases involving robbery or assault on elderly victims in their homes. Allen was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to 88 years behind bars. He was also convicted individually for the murder of Ernestine Griffin and was sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to 60 years in 2013 and he is set for released in 2035.
Charles William Yukl
Charles William Yukl was a self-employed piano teacher when he was first convicted of murdering one of his students, 25-year-old Suzanne Reynolds. He had reported her body in an adjacent apartment. She was beaten, stripped, and stabbed to death. Yukl was brought in for questioning and confessed to her murder the following morning. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 7-15 years in prison. However, he was released after only five years due to being a model prisoner and a good candidate for parole.
Yukl lasted only 14 months before he killed again on August 20, 1974. The nude body of Karen Schlegel was found on the rooftop of an apartment building in Greenwich Village. She had been dead only 12 hours and her cause of death was strangulation. Yukl was a prime suspect as he lived in that apartment building as well. He also confessed to luring her to her death by utilizing an ad placed in a theatrical magazine. Yukl told the authorities that he strangled her with a necktie prior to stripping her and carrying her to the rooftop the night before. He was declared competent for trial by psychiatrists and was indicted on September 6, 1974. In June of 1976, Yukl reached a plea agreement for a 15-year sentence. However, on August 22, 1982, he hung himself in his prison cell using a shredded mattress cover.
Jose Antonio Rodriguez Vega
Considered Spain’s most prolific serial killer, Jose Antonia Rodriguez Vega murdered 16 elderly women within the two years of 1986-1988. Vega had already been a convicted rapist at this point and had spent years in prison for his crimes. However, once he left prison, he found himself to be impotent and incredibly frustrated and ashamed. His modus operandi was simple: convince the women he was the right man for their simple task, then kill and rape them.
Vega was not your normal serial killer though as he was extremely good at cleaning his crime scenes. His first set of murders were so clean that they were not even considered crimes until he confessed during his capture. He would finish his crime by tucking them neatly redressed and tucked into their beds and the authorities wrote them off as deaths due to old age. Vega did keep trophies of his victims and even kept a complex shrine with all of them in his home. That shrine helped many people report possible crimes when a local news organizations broadcast video from his apartment and photos of his shrine. People called in to the authorities when they saw items belonging to their relatives on his shrine. He was convicted and sentenced to 440 years. However, Spanish law stated that he would not serve more than 30 years and he was scheduled for release in 2008. Have no fear, though. You will never run into Vega in Spain or any other location as he was killed by two inmates brandishing shanks on October 22, 2002.
Richard Trenton Chase
Known as the Vampire of Sacramento, Richard Trenton Chase killed six people in his drive to obtain and drink as much blood as he could in an effort to cure an unknown disease he was certain he had. This unknown disease, he insisted, was drying up his own blood and was contracted through a poison placed under his soap dish by Nazi’s.
His need for blood began on December 29, 1977 when Chase gunned down 51-year-old Ambrose Griffin in a drive-by shooting. Griffin was not drained of blood as this was just a “warm up” for Chase to get him ready for the murders he was planning to carry out. Chase moved on in January 1978 when he then entered the home of married couple, David and Theresa, where Theresa was home and three months pregnant. She had taken out the garbage and left the door unlocked. He killed her by shooting her in the head and obtained her blood by cutting her open with a kitchen knife. He also ate some of her organs. He committed his last murders on January 27, 1977 when he entered the home of 22-year-old Evelyn Miroth who was home and babysitting her 22-month-old nephew and her own six-year-old son. Evelyn had a neighbor over to watch the boys while she took a bath. Dan Meredith, 51, was shot point blank in the head when he entered the hall way to see who had some in the door. Evelyn’s six-year-old tried to escape Chase by running to the bedroom, but was shot in the head, as was the 22-month-old nephew. Chase proceeded into the bathroom where he found Evelyn, shot her, dragged her body to the bedroom, and drank her blood. Had it not been for the knock on the front door by a little neighbor girl who had a play date with Evelyn’s son, it is hard to say what would have happened next.
Chase was apprehended and stood tried in 1979. He was found guilty of first degree murder on all counts and was sentenced to die via gas chamber. However, before his sentence could be carried out, Chase took the easy way out and committed suicide using doctor prescribed anti-depressants he had been saving up for several weeks. Chase died on December 26, 1980, almost exactly three years since his crime spree began.
Joe Ball ran a tavern in the 1930s called The Sociable Inn. He had nice waitresses and an exciting alligator pit out back that smelled of rotting meat due to the bait he used to feed them with. Joe was a scary man who enjoyed showing off the feeding frenzy he created with his alligators during feeding time to bar patrons willing to pay a few extra pennies. He had also threatened a police officer with a gun after he complained about the smell coming from the alligator pit and had intimidated a neighbor to the point of the neighbor packing his family up in the middle of the night and leaving the state. Ball had a much deeper and darker side, however.
In September 1937, Minnie Gotthardt, 22-years-old, was reported missing to the authorities by her family. Her last place of employment was at Ball’s bar. He told police she had left for another job and the police were satisfied with his answer and closed the case. The second woman reported missing was Julia Turner. Another bar maid that Ball insisted had left after a fight she had with her roommate and Ball had given her $500 to help her leave. The fight was never proven to have happened once they spoke to the roommate. Hazel Brown vanished after opening a bank account and then never claiming the money she deposited into it. Once the Texas Rangers became involved, it became clear that he had a history of knowing women who ended up missing, permanently. These included Ball’s second and third wives. Ball also had an accomplice who eventually gave up some information that lead to an inquiry into Ball’s establishment. However, when the Texas Rangers entered the Sociable Inn on September 24, 1938 to look at Ball’s meat barrel where he kept the food for his alligators, Ball realized his time was up. He pulled a gun from the register and shot himself in the head. In the end, it is speculated that Joe Ball may have killed and disposed of up to 20 women, feeding most of them to his alligators.